Whether pitching Old Spice, hitting on White Chicks or – our favorite – being the most awesome president of a dumbed-down future world ever, Terry Crews is known for looking like a badass while cracking us up. In The Expendables 2, however, he’s all big badness, at one point even threatening to terminate the original Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger. What’s more, you believe he could do it, easily. Thankfully, we caught up with him when he was in a good mood.
Nerdist: Everyone always asks you guys who would win in a fight. What we wanna know is, if Governor Schwarzenegger challenged President Camacho to an election, who would win, and how?
Terry Crews: You know, I think Camacho would win, hands down, because people like the fun. They would want Camacho to throw ’em a beer, and “Rahhhhh!” Now, if you really wanted somebody to run the country, you would go the other way. But Camacho would win because everybody would want to hang out with the guy.
N: For this movie, you finally got your first action figure. What’s it like to be immortalized in plastic, and what do you most fear your kids will do to them?
TC: I know they’re gonna step on them, and I know they’re probably gonna smack ’em and abuse ’em. I’ll probably end up buried in the backyard, but that’s okay, because I’ll always keep two or three still in the package just for me. I’ll have one for them to abuse, and another that they can play with for real.
N: We know quite a few people who are planning on making custom Camacho figures with a wrestler body, popping off the head.
TC: I’m all game for all of that. Camacho’s one of the most beloved characters in movie history; [Idiocracy]’s one of those movies that was under the radar and came back with a vengeance. Right now I’m looking to see what else I can do with the character. (EDITOR’S NOTE: There’s some potentially very good news on that front, with reports that Terry, Mike Judge, and Fox are discussing Camacho projects, including Web interstitials and more…)
N: On the last movie, you were the new guy. On this one, you have two new team members. Did you feel like the veteran this time, initiating them a little bit? Or do you still feel like the new guy?
TC: No, I don’t feel like the new guy. I feel I’m definitely a family member in this case. Our big thing was to welcome the new guys. First of all, Liam Hemsworth came in and proved he was the real deal. He really just killed his scenes, he never complained, he did all the work that was necessary and I see super-stardom for the kid, I really do. I probably will be playing, like, the police chief and he’ll be the action hero, you know what I mean? I hope to get in one of his movies one day. That’s pretty much what I see in the future for Liam.
And Yu Nan was such a presence over in China as a wonderful actress there… She brought the physicality, the female energy to the Expendables, because we had a huge female following to the first one – they like seeing real men, and they also like seeing bad-ass girls do what they do. And she’s one of ’em.
N: Does adding a woman to the team change the behind-the-scenes dynamic at all? Maybe you can’t make as many dirty jokes, or pass gas…
TC: Oh, definitely. I shudder to think what would have happened had she not been there, because there was no reason to really shower on the first one! We would walk around really funky, all day, and it was no big deal, we were like, there’s no women here! And the fact that she was always there [in this one], we’d go, “Awww, I guess I’d better take that extra stick of deodorant. What the hey.”
N: You probably have a lifetime supply, don’t you?
TC: That was a little bit before Old Spice, the first one. But yeah, I get it now. It’s all good.
N: So what’s more intimidating: working with all the action heroes on The Expendables, or working with Tim and Eric on Old Spice commercials?
TC: Tim and Eric are amazing. We improv all day, we come up with all this new stuff. But the intimidation factor definitely has to be this movie. That’s the one. Because there (with Tim and Eric) I can be as silly and crazy as I wanna be, and I trust Tim and Eric to edit it up real good.
N: You worked with Schwarzenegger before on The Sixth Day – is there still an intimidation factor there? Does he remember you from it?
TC: Oh yeah. You know, what’s funny is, that was my first movie I ever did. I was so scared, so nervous, I had all these voices in my head telling me “You don’t belong here,” and I choked when I went to speak to him. My first line, I was supposed to say something like, “Sir, you’re supposed to come with us,” and I couldn’t say it, and something went wrong with the camera. I turned around and I just yelled at myself, like, “Man, if you don’t get this right, you will never act again.” And I got another chance, I said the line, and then you flash-forward to now almost a decade later, we have a scene again and the dynamic was different. I could see how much I changed. I changed a lot. Hollywood will change you if you want it to, but in a good way. For me, all the experiences working with some of the biggest – Adam Sandler, Eddie Murphy, Keanu Reeves – I’ve had the privilege and honor to work with major, major stars.
N: So many of your roles are working against your physical type. Working with Stallone and Schwarzenegger, do you get the craving, and can we see you do a more traditional type of action movie where it’s just you and a bunch of guns blowing stuff up?
TC: Yeah. Finally. It’s weird because on Everybody Hates Chris, I did that show for four years and they covered every bit of any muscle, because they wanted me to look like everyman. They wanted me to look like a big guy, but no muscle, no definition, and I worked out like a beast back then. Finally to be able to shine, and show it, and really have it highlighted in this movie – more than anything, I think out of all the guys, I’m the guy that brings that muscular physicality. I’m in that fitness phase; I look at Arnold and Sly as pretty much the ones who invented modern-day fitness. You wouldn’t have a local gym if it weren’t for Arnold and Sly.
N: The Rock kinda borrowed the pec pop that you’ve been doing for a while – have you had words with him about that?
TC: The pec pop is free. It’s something that you have to develop, and if you can do it, go ahead. It’s kinda like a hang ten – you can’t patent it. But you gotta have the pecs in order to pop ’em, and I’ve kinda turned it into a thing where I yell while I do it and all that. But Dwayne – you know, we did Get Smart together, and Dwayne is one of the biggest superstars. I can’t wait for us to work together again. I think he would be a great addition to one of the Expendables movies. If we could do The Expendables 3 with Dwayne as a villain, that would be hot.
N: And Camacho’s first name is Dwayne, right?
TC: Yeah! Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho.
N: The military-themed reality show that you’re on, Stars Earn Stripes… On paper, it would seem like nobody on there would have a chance against you. How’s that coming along?
TC: You know what’s funny? It’s not about physicality. The military is about strategy, and they made the game a lot about strategy, more so than picking people up and slamming them to the ground combat. It’s literally how well you shoot, how well you plan out your mission and this kind of thing. It’s a thinking man’s game, as opposed to…people just automatically assume, “Aw man, he’s just gonna kick ass!” Well, it’s one of those things that you have to prove, and have to come with it with your mind, as opposed to your body.
N: And do you?
If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to Nerdist News for more like it every morning, five days a week.